Does Chrome and Android = One OS To Many For Google To Handle?
It is fair to say that Chrome OS is a polarizing subject. Websites, blogs and commentators vary from singing its praises to saying its useless. How does it fit in with Android though? Can an OS that relies so much on the cloud compete against an OS that can be manipulated by anyone and has huge app support? Does it even make sense these two operating systems come from the same company…?
To be fair they do not directly compete. Yet the open nature of both operating systems (especially Android) means that in the future they may well find themselves in competition with each other. If Android is being put onto tablet/netbook convertibles like ASUS has with its Transformer tablet, and onto desktops like Motorola has with its Atrix, and these become popular, where does that leave Chrome OS?
It would seem to many that Chrome OS doesn't need to exist because Android will dominate it, when in fact they will eventually compliment each other. I do not believe that Google is to worried that Chrome OS may be overshadowed by Android because maybe its purpose is not to be a mass market OS like Android but actually that it will serve to help evolve the web through positioning itself as great for schools and businesses. After all if businesses are using it they are going to write apps for it, and students who use Chrome OS will want to tinker with it and see if they develop an app for it or improve it in some way.
Chrome Is About Evolution
If Chrome seeks to evolve the web it has to do its own thing. The way Chrome OS is built, to be a purely a web service allows it to (obviously) make the web its priority. Android can present a more familiar desktop experience to the user providing a more fully functional feel whilst using the vast amount of apps to provide access to cloud and web services. The reason Chrome itself is not present on Android is simply because Android doesn't need it. The simplicity is not yet there. As Chrome becomes more developed and used more than its advancements will start to see themselves trickled down into Android itself. If Chrome does was its intended to do and speed up web development then Android users will also see the benefits both in the browser and in its app developments as well.
Chrome OS is about trying to make the Web stand on its own without relying on a full desktop to be basic things such as handle your settings, your files and connecting you up to other peripherals. It is about giving you the functionality of a desktop computer on the web. Being able to take your documents from Google Docs to Dropbox if you wish, or moving your photos from Facebook to Picassa and hopefully one day being able to play Starcraft 2 (+ sequels) in gorgeous lag free detail through your browser. As I said much of this can be done in some way through Android already, but the benefit of Chrome would be that it could do it faster, easier and in a more integrated way.
Android And Chrome Will Bring The Best Of Both Worlds
I think it inevitable though that in the end the two operating systems will combine to give us the best of local and web/cloud computing. As seamless as possible on and offline capabilities. The desktop abilities of Android melded with the web capabilities of Chrome, easy file storage between your local and cloud storage without the need for a local 'app', possibly even a unified market with web and Android like apps offering you a range of different options. Also the better the cloud integration in Android the better it will be if you move between phone, tablet, TV, netbook, desktop and whatever else they stuff Android into by then (toasters maybe?).
In The End
It is of course possible that if Chrome does not take off when its Chromebooks are released that what I have talked about may take much longer to become fully realised. It could mainly depend on adoption by businesses, schools and the early adopters to make Chrome OS a success.Anyone with opinions on the subject I would love to hear them